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atari2600land

Why so many stupid expansion models?

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I keep getting games that use Expansion models I don't have. Why would they even do that in the first place? Why not just include everything they wanted to when designing the original Colecovision? It makes me so angry.

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Welcome to 1982!  😁

41 minutes ago, atari2600land said:

I keep getting games that use Expansion models I don't have. Why would they even do that in the first place? Why not just include everything they wanted to when designing the original Colecovision? It makes me so angry.

 

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They want to bring the arcade experience straight into your home. Usually expansion module come with a game.  Like the Roller Controller comes with Slither, and the Steering Wheel comes with Turbo. Few games have an option that you could use the Roller controller to move the cursor like Wargames.  Few homebrew have modified the games that requires that steering wheel, to use the hand controller like Destructor.

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Are we talking about the adam expansion or the controllers?  For whatever reason cartridges were limited to 32k, and magnetic tape was the solution to capacity.  In 1982 they probably never thought that rom prices would come down for larger cartridges.  Rom prices did come down and had coleco stuck around they would have figured out larger capacity cartridges like homebrews have today.

 

Colecovision controllers were designed to have the speed roller found in the super action controllers but coleco cut them at the last minute to save a few dollars.   Including a trackball and steering wheel with every colecovisiom would have significantly increased costs affecting sales.

 

Very few cartridges require special controllers.  Developers just didn't want to program for a subset of the market.  It's why Atari's centipede wasn't programmed for the trackball.  Two cartridges require the trackball. One cartridge other than the sports cartridges require the super action controller.  How many cartridges require the steering wheel, some support it optionally, but how many require it other than turbo?

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The reason why is mostly money.

Before Nintento came and reversed the sales model, game companies were following the Atari model of cheap console and dirt cheap game. So the real way to milk money out of consumers was to release expensive, much-needed add-ons. It's one reason why those add-ons were never really well supported past the first 6 months of release : after they estimated that the sales for the expansion wouldn't go further, they simply dropped it to release the next gizmo. Remember that in the US, the video game industry was seen as merely a special branch of toy sales, so it was treated on the same model than toys : if it didn't sold like hot cakes, abandon it.

There's a reason why the biggest game system sellers in the US (outside of Atari) were toy companies and not electronic companies.

It's also a huge but usually overseen reason for the video game crash of 1983/84 : the two major actors save from Atari themselves were toy companies : as soon as what they perceived as a fad was done, they had no interest to keep selling video game systems : the market trend was moving to computers, which most people saw as the next step of gaming.

Edited by CatPix

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In 1982 video game consoles and cartridges weren't dirt cheap, they were expensive that few families could afford.  Adjusting for inflation consoles would be about $600 to $800 and cartridges over $100 each.  Console and cartridge sales resulted in massive profits until 1982.  The nes was relatively cheap because it was based on old technology and nintendo gouged on the cartridges.

 

Peripherals were an attempt to add value to the platform but, as catpix previously said, without software support it didn't work.  It's a good point that toy companies did see peripherals as toy accessories to expand the product line.

 

Warner and Mattel, the two market leaders, exited the market because their consumer electronics divisions which included both video games and computers were mismanaged and nearly bankrupted the parent company.  In Coleco's case, they did go bankrupt and their home computer was part of the reason.

Edited by mr_me

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And pure video game companies like Imagic and Activision also went bankrupt or closed, well technically Activision survived in name.

Edited by mr_me

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5 hours ago, mr_me said:

In 1982 video game consoles and cartridges weren't dirt cheap, they were expensive that few families could afford.  Adjusting for inflation consoles would be about $600 to $800 and cartridges over $100 each. 

I should have said that they were sold with minimal marging indeed, rather than "cheap"; I was thinking it as "cheap for the amount of tech involved".

 

the NES was "old tech" but also had a rather powerful, custom made PPU. Nintendo's winning move on price was mostly that they managed to convince Ricoh to sell them the 65c02 CPU used in the NES for half the regular market price (amongst other things).

 

 

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